Hudson – Argeo Paul Cellucci, former Massachusetts governor and ambassador to Canada, announced his final campaign after a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In 2011, he launched the UMass ALS Champion Fund at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) led by his primary care physician Dr. Robert Brown.
When ALS took his life at age 65 in 2013, the challenge of continuing the fund was accepted by his widow, Jan, and their daughters Kate Garnett Cellucci and Anne Cellucci Adams. Their first fundraiser for the renamed UMass ALS Cellucci Fund is the Gov. Cellucci Tribute Road Race to be held Saturday, Aug. 2, 9 a.m., beginning and ending at the Hudson-Concord Elks Lodge 959.
The family has experienced their share of fundraisers throughout a 35-year career of public service, Jan noted.
“The girls were brought up attending more fundraisers at hotels than we would ever want to count,” she said. “We didn's want to subject the grandchildren to that traditional kind of event. We thought a 5K would be a fun opportunity to honor Paul, raise money and continue the UMass Cellucci Fund in a whole new way.”
They'se following the example of a determined work ethic set by the fund's founder.
“Paul took great pride and excitement in raising awareness of the UMMS,” Jan said. “He did television interviews as this disease was progressing. Paul worked until the day he passed.”
It's important to the family that the fundraiser is taking place in Hudson, where Paul Cellucci was first elected to public office as a member of the Charter Commission in 1970 and served as a selectman from 1971 to 1977. The Town Hall is one of several landmarks on the race route with connections to him and his father, Argeo R. Cellucci Jr.
The Elks lodge was the site where his father organized the annual Cellucci family picnic for many years. After leaving the lodge, the runners and walkers will pass Wood Park on Brigham Street where the reviewing stand was stationed for a parade in honor of Paul Cellucci as the new governor in 1997 upon the resignation of William Weld.
The route will continue onto South Street and pass Cellucci Park. At the park's opening day in 2008, Paul Cellucci spoke about his father's accomplishments as chair of the Hudson Economic Development Commission for 39 years.
As race participants travel on Main Street, they'sl pass the former Hudson Catholic High School building where Paul Cellucci graduated in 1966. They'sl also pass the diner at the rotary where the family went after casting their votes early morning on election days – as did media photographers.
“It's important for the many people in Hudson who are signing up for the race to really celebrate the downtown,” Jan said. “Not only does the town have an extraordinary history of its own, but one of its citizens went from the Charter Commission to United States Ambassador to Canada. That doesn's happen in every town. It also doesn's happen everywhere that after all of that, the man moves back to his hometown.”
Awards will be presented in various age divisions, as well as a nod for the largest team. Each finishing runner and walker will receive a commemorative medal with an engraving: “Governor, Ambassador, Proud citizen of Hudson.”
“It summarizes Paul, to whom we are paying tribute,” Jan said of the inscription. “This is his last campaign that we are supporting.”
The registration fee for runners and walkers is $40, and will become $50 as of Monday, July 21. Registration closes midnight Wednesday, July 30. There's no race-day registration.
For more registration information, visit www.racemenu.com/governorcellucci-5K.